02/06/2015 11:54 EST | Updated 04/08/2015 05:59 EDT

Doctor-assisted suicide appropriate for some, Canadian Medical Association says

The Canadian Medical Association supports patients who seek "medical aid in dying" as well as physicians' choice to participate, the group's president said Thursday in response to a Supreme Court decision.

"The CMA policy recognizes that there are rare occasions where patients have such a degree of suffering, even with access to palliative and end of life care, that they request medical aid in dying. We believe in those cases, and within legal constraints, that medical aid in dying may be appropriate," CMA president Dr. Chris Simpson said in a release.

In an interview, Simpson said the court gave 12 months to answer detailed questions such as:

- How will consent be determined, such as through discussion and counselling?

- What is the best way to provide safeguards, such as using two doctors or a board?

- How could patients apply?

Simpson said his group will continue to promote access to high-quality palliative care.